News Archive - December 2006

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12-29-07 Weekend News 12-29-07 *** The Coast Guard conducted a medical evacuation of a crew member aboard a Holland America cruise ship on Christmas Day. Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point responded to a distress call at 4:30 p.m. about a 40-year-old man needing medical evacuation from a ship in waters nearest to the Big Island.

Crew members of an Coast Guard helicopter and a C-130 search plane responded Monday night, after waiting for the ship to get closer to land. The crew of the C-130 search plane circled above while the crew of the helicopter conducted the evacuation. The helicopter then flew back to Hilo to rendezvous with the C-130 crew. The cruise ship's nurse stayed with the evacuee during the helicopter evacuation to continue rendering care The rescue swimmer was left behind on the ship overnight because of limited helicopter fuel and weight concerns.

After the plane touched down at Honolulu International Airport around 4:15 a.m. yesterday morning, county emergency medical technicians took the patient to The Queen's Medical Center. A Coast Guard rescue swimmer was deployed to recover the evacuee and a nurse, who was aiding with medical treatment aboard the ship. Emergency crews took the evacuee and nurse to the C-130 for a flight to Honolulu.

*** Carnival Corp announced that they have signed a letter of intent for a new 116,000-ton ship for its P&O Cruises brand. The new vessel, which will have 3,076 lower passenger berths, will be built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri at its Monfalcone yard, at an estimated all-in cost of 535 million Euros.

The ship is scheduled for delivery in spring 2010. Externally, the vessel will be similar to P&O Cruises Ventura, which is scheduled to enter service in spring 2008, but the new product features and interior design will be announced at a future date. This latest ship order will bring the total number of vessels in the P&O Cruises fleet to seven, including five existing ships, as well as the new Ventura, which will be Britain's largest cruise ship when it enters service in April 2008. The new ship will further enhance P&O Cruises' reputation as the only company building cruise ships specifically for Britain.

*** Costa Classica made her maiden voyage to Bahrain on December 28, 2006, carrying more than 1,500 passengers - mostly Italian and German nationals.R The recently refurbished Costa Classica was built in 1991, is 722-feet long ship has a capacity of 1,680 in 654 cabins - including six for handicapped guests.

Bahrain is now part of the cruise ship's Middle East route, which also has scheduled port calls in Egypt, Oman, the UAE and Yemen. The ship is now scheduled to make 16 port calls to Bahrain between December 28, 2006 and April 12, 2007. Back to Top

12-22-06 Weekend News 12-22-06

*** Carnival Cruise Lines is "on the move" with several announcements this week. First, they announced they are picking up the option to build a sister ship to a 130,000-gross ton vessel on order with Fincantieri shipyards. These are the largest Carnival vessels to be built, yet, and represent a new class of shiop for Carnival - yet tp be named. The first ship will be delivered in 2009, the second in 2010. The ships will each have 3652 lower passenger berths. Carnival also has two other ships on order, slightly smaller to be delivered in 2007 and 2008.

Carnival also announced two itinerary updates: Carnival Liberty's year-round schedule of alternating seven-day "exotic" eastern and western Caribbean cruises from Miami debuts in May 2008 and features less visited ports of call. The "exotic" eastern Caribbean itinerary features Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay, (Holland America's private Bahamian island) along with St. Thomas and San Juan. The western route features Cozumel, Grand Cayman; and Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

Carnival Freedom will reposition to Fort Lauderdale to operate six- and eight-day cruises beginning November 22, 2008. Six-day cruises depart Sundays and visit Freeport, Grand Cayman and Costa Maya, while eight-day voyages depart Saturdays and alternate to the eastern and exotic western Caribbean. Eight-day eastern Caribbean voyages feature five ports: San Juan, St. Thomas/St. John, Antigua, Tortola/Virgin Gorda, and Nassau. Western Caribbean cruises include Limon (Costa Rica), Colon (Panama) and Costa Maya.

*** Cunard is launching two separate world cruises, one on Queen Mary 2 and the other Queen Elizabeth 2, from the same port on the same day. January 10, 2007, both ships will set sail from Port Everglades in Ft Lauderdale on simultaneous, but different, World Cruises. A Royal Rendezvous of the world's most famous ocean liners; Queen Mary 2 on her first-ever World Cruise - an 81-day circumnavigation of the globe - and Queen Elizabeth 2 on her Silver Jubilee World Cruise - an exotic 108-day voyage marking her 25th around the world. Views of the historic event are available from several vantage points, including the 17th Street Causeway Bridge. At 5 p.m., viewers can also watch the ships sail together from Fort Lauderdale Beach, at either the pier or beach at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park.

*** An Outbreak of the norovirus at an Indianapolis Olive Garden was once again referred to by a "hack" reporter as an outbreak of the "cruise ship virus." It will be nice when the media at large catches on to the fact that the medical community has stated repeatedly that norovirus is old as the hills, as common as the "the common" cold, and that it did not originate with and is not exclusive to cruise ships. In fact, vacation spots including hotels, country clubs and all-inclusive resorts account for a mere 10% of all norovirus cases. If logic can dictate just for a moment; cruise ships account for a mere 10% of the leisure travel market at most, and therefore under 1% of all norovirus cases at most (likely, far less) occur on cruise ships.

*** Windstar Cruises' Wind Surf has just emerged from a 5-week, multi-million dollar beauty make-over that added more luxury amenities on board and updated public spaces and staterooms. Two new luxury suites were added on the Bridge deck bringing the ship's capacity to 312 guests. Work was also completed on technical operations of the ship. The Yacht Club replaces the library, an espresso bar offers gourmet coffee drinks and eight computers with Internet access. (personal laptops may also connect to wireless Internet). A large flatscreen television anchors a seating area for group gatherings to watch special events such as the Oscars or the Super Bowl. A library of books, CDs and DVDs are available for checkout.

The two new luxury suites on the Wind Surf's bridge deck are approximately 500-sq. feet each and include a living and dining area, separate bedroom with walk-in closet, and a marble bathroom with whirlpool tub and separate shower. Guests in the Bridge Suites will enjoy extra service amenities such as unpacking service, invitation to dine with Captain, laundry and pressing, evening appetizers, high tea service upon request, complimentary bottled water in the suite, chilled champagne upon arrival, and additional L'Occitane bath amenities.

All suite and stateroom bathrooms have been remodeled for a more contemporary look with new fixtures, open glass shelves, new cabinets, granite countertops, porcelain sinks, and a magnifying mirror. Refinished teak floors retain the popular nautical style. Egyptian cotton towels and bath amenities by L'Occitane have recently been added.

Also in the stateroom, desks have been resurfaced with granite and full length mirrors added. In suites, a second flat panel television and DVD player was added. Wireless internet is already available throughout the ship along with Bose SoundDock speakers in all staterooms, Apple iPod Nanos pre-loaded with music for complimentary check-out and laptops for rent.

In other areas of the ship, new weights and televisions were added to the gym. A pedicure chair and a couples massage room enhance the full-service WindSpa. New audio visual equipment was installed for meetings. The Veranda, where breakfast and lunch are served, has expanded its covered outdoor seating with new awnings. Balinese sun beds will soon be added to the Star deck and cooling mist sprays will be located near both pools. The Bistro has been renamed Degrees and serves a Splichal-inspired steak house menu four nights a week and offers rotating menus from Northern Italy, France and Indonesia other nights. There is still no charge, but reservations are required.

Degrees of Difference updates will follow on the Wind Spirit in spring 2007 and the Wind Star in fall 2007. The Wind Surf, fresh from its Degrees of Difference updates for the 2007 Caribbean season, sails alternating northbound and southbound itineraries roundtrip from Bridgetown, Barbados.

*** Norwegian Coastal Voyages has unveiled a new 66-day Expedition, "World Cruise - From Artic to Antarctica," - believed to be the first "world cruise" with a north/south orientation rather than East/West. The brand new MS Fram, the world's newest and most deluxe expedition ship, will be filling passenger's passports with visits to 44 ports in 17 countries on four continents, taking a longitudinal route from pole-to-pole on September 18, 2007. Guests will take up residency and embark on an odyssey of experiences that begins in Reykjavik, Iceland and proceeds through the Arctic, Atlantic, Caribbean, Pacific and South Pole waters to Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the Eastern US, Western Caribbean, a transit through the Panama Canal, the west coast of South America, the Chilean fjords and Antarctica, ending in Ushuaia, Argentina on November 22. Whether taken in totality or in segments, the itinerary offers stunning scenery, varied seasons and fascinating ports of call.

The 12,700-ton, 318-berth, eight-deck ship, the first cruise ship built exclusively for sailing in the challenging maritime environment of Greenland from May through September, makes significant use of the country's culture as inspiration for design while incorporating a striking Scandinavian feel with the extensive use of wool, leather and oak. The ship is named after the polar ship built and used by Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen on a three-year expedition around Greenland in the late 1800s. Cabins are stylish and comfortable; a variety of suites and junior suites offer queen-size beds and TVs. The ship also boasts excellent conference and meeting facilities, an Internet café, a large glass-enclosed observation salon offering panoramic views of the outside scenery, restaurant with ocean views, wellness center with saunas, work-out room and two glass-screened heated outdoor whirlpools.

Rates for the 66-day voyage are $9,999 to $37,799 per person, double occupancy and include selected cabin category, all meals on board, expert and naturalist guides and port charges.

Information, brochures and reservations can be obtained from Norwegian Coastal Voyage Inc., (800) 323-7436 or (212) 319-1300; fax (212) 319-1390; for brochures (800) 666-2374, 24 hours a day; www.norwegiancoastalvoyage.us Back to Top

12-21-06 NCL Awards America's Vacation Center Norwegian Cruise Line has selected America's Vacation Center (AVC) as its President's Elite Travel Agency of the Year. A celebration was then held on board Norwegian Pearl's inaugural cruise in the Garden Villa to thank all the AVC agents who attended the inaugural event. NCL chose San Diego-based AVC as its President's Elite Travel Agency of the Year in order to recognize the company's achievements including significant sales growth, continued dedication to superior customer service, innovative technology and high-quality network of professional travel agents.

"America's Vacation Center continues to set new levels of standards for the travel industry, and we are honored to name them our President's Elite Travel Agency of the Year," said Andy Stuart, NCL's executive vice president of marketing, sales and passenger services. "In addition to increasing sales, AVC's professional travel agents have done an excellent job of matching our innovative products and features with discerning vacationers and, as a result, turning them into satisfied cruise passengers." Back to Top

12-18-06 Norwegian Pearl Christened in Miami Norwegian Cruise Line's newest ship, Norwegian Pearl, was christened in a naming ceremony in Miami on Saturday night. Due to rainy weather, the NCL crew moved the entire ceremony, which had been fully set up, from alongside the ship on the dock to inside the ship's main theater. Godmother Rosie O'Donnell gave the blessing for the ship, and with the words "God bless all those who serve and sail upon her" pulled the switch that sent the champagne bottle swinging periously against the hull of the ship where it shattered on cue, keeping alive an ago-old shipbuilding tradition.

See a video of Rosie's speech here: Rosie2.wmv (recommended for broadband connections only).

The ship is to begin a schedule of alternating 5 and 9-day cruises from Miami. The 9-day alternative is the first "one week off work" cruise that will get a cruiser as far south in the Caribbean as Barbados within a time frame that only requires taking a week off work. The ship embarks late Friday night and returns on Sunday morning. The 5-night cruises will go to the Western Caribbean.

For additional Norwegian Pearl articles go here:

  • NCL Pearl Preview
  • NCL Pearl Pictures

    Back to Top

    12-15-06 Weekend News 12-15-06 *** Costa Cruise Lines has exercised an option with Fincantieri for the construction of a new 92,700 gross tonnage cruise ship. The new ship, which is scheduled for delivery in March 2010, will be built at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard, at a cost of approximately 420 million Euros. The vessel will have 2,260 lower passenger berths and a total of 1,130 cabins, 68% of which feature private verandas, giving it the highest percentage of veranda cabins in the Costa fleet. She will be the sister ship of another 92,700-ton ship, also to be built in Marghera and scheduled to enter service in Spring 2009.

    This is the fourth ship Costa has commissioned from Fincantieri. These orders total 10,520 lower berths and an investment of almost 2 billion Euros. In addition to the two 92,700-ton sister ships to be built in Marghera, two more 112,000-ton vessels – sister ships of the flagship Costa Concordia – are under construction at the Genoa-Sestri Ponente yard. The first is the Costa Serena, due in May 2007, while the second is scheduled for delivery in the summer of 2009. By the end of 2010, when the last of the four newbuilds is delivered, the Costa fleet will feature 15 ships and have a total of 30,800 lower berths, further consolidating its position as Europe's largest and most advanced fleet.

    *** Windstar Cruises has again earned recognition as the "Best Overall Cruise Value" in the "High-Deluxe", 5-Star+, Small-Ship category from the prestigious World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society.

    Thomas Cassidy, editor of Ocean and Cruise News, a publication by WOCLS, wrote that "Windstar Cruises and their three sailing ships offer a true escape from the large cruise ships with a casual ambiance that many people now prefer. Windstar provides many of the comforts and amenities of a larger vessel, such as single seating dining and no assigned seating, within an atmosphere of casual comfort not found on other deluxe category ships." He also said the pricing, combined with excellent service and a friendly crew makes for a great value.

    In 2006, Windstar invested in luxury amenities on board all three ships including luxury linens and mattresses, L'Occitane bath amenities, Riedel stemware in The Restaurant, new menus by acclaimed Chef Joachim Splichal, wireless internet, Apple iPod Nanos and more.

    *** Celebrity Cruises has taken another significant step in its quest to expand the "Celebrity Expeditions" extension of the brand. Celebrity Quest will join Celebrity Expeditions in 2007, pairing new avenues for delivering the "Celebrity Treatment" with exotic new itineraries for the vessel and its sister ship, Celebrity Journey. The three-ship class includes Celebrity Xpedition, which has sailed in the Galapagos Islands since 2004.

    The 710-guest Celebrity Quest – most recently sailing as Blue Moon, owned by Pullmantur – will join the Celebrity Expeditions fleet in October 2007. Like Celebrity Journey, which sets sail in May 2007, the vessel's smaller size allows for greater versatility in deployment, allowing Celebrity to offer guests exceptional destination experiences, while adding 32 new ports to the line's itinerary portfolio. With those, the Celebrity brand next year will call on 247 ports.

    Unique to Celebrity Journey and Celebrity Quest will be a more exclusive guest experience, with two specialty restaurants, 15 classes of accommodations, butler service and concierge amenities in every stateroom and suite, and expanded spa services, including in-room offerings.

    Both Celebrity Journey and Celebrity Quest will undergo a combined $35-million revitalization during separate one-month drydock periods to incorporate 32 new suites on each ship, entirely new bedding and soft goods, and a variety of Celebrity's most popular signature elements, including the Martini Bar, Cova Café, Sushi Café, Michael's Club jazz/piano bar, casino, Boutique C, AquaSpa by Elemis, Acupuncture at Sea and Online@Celebrity.

    Celebrity Journey will sail seven-night Bermuda cruises from May through October 2007, then will present an exceptional series of 12- to 18-night cruises in remote areas of Antarctica, Brazil, the Chilean Fjords and other faraway regions of South America, from October 2007 through April 2008

    .

    Celebrity Quest will make its first sailing under the Celebrity Expeditions banner in October 2007, introducing a series of 12- to 14-night Caribbean sailings featuring several first-time ports of call, including those in St. Barts, Guadeloupe, Dominica, and Turks & Caicos, followed by a series of 14-night Eastbound and Westbound Panama Canal itineraries featuring some of the most exotic destinations in Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. Additionally, each port will feature a new, immersive series of shore excursions.

    *** Carnival Cruise Lines has completed the fleetwide implementation of cell phone service aboard all 21 of its "Fun Ships." with the installation of cellular phone technology aboard the 2,974-passenger Carnival Liberty earlier this week.

    With the new service, made possible through an agreement between Carnival and Wireless Maritime Services (WMS), a joint venture of Cingular Wireless and Maritime Telecommunications Network, guests sailing aboard the "Fun Ships" can make and receive calls and transmit text and multimedia messages from their personal cell phones, BlackBerrys or similar devices while at sea.

    Utilizing WMS' state-of-the-art high-bandwidth technology, the new fleetwide service is compatible with virtually any cellular telephone and enables guests sailing on Carnival to make and receive calls and send messages anywhere in the world from any cruising region. The service requires no additional software or special dialing procedures – guests simply make and receive calls as well as transmit text and multimedia messages as they would on land using their personal cell phone. International roaming fees apply to all shipboard cell phone calls.

    *** Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is set to enhance the bedtime sleep experience for its guests with the installation of new Sealy Posturepedic Plush EuroTop mattresses aboard its entire fleet of four all-suite ships. Also, the line's top suites -- Owner's, Grand, Royal and Rossellini -- will feature Stearns & Foster Plush ultra-luxury beds that provide 10% more sleep surface than a conventional mattress.

    The new beds, custom-designed by Sealy exclusively for Silversea, will debut aboard Silver Shadow just in time for its 126-day World Cruise departing Fort Lauderdale on January 15, 2007, and will be rolled out to the rest of the fleet during the following months.

    *** NCL America's "Pride of Hawai`i" serves as the setting for Style Network's popular makeover series, "How Do I Look?," hosted by Emmy® Award-winning actress and style guru Finola Hughes, for a first-ever, two-hour special wedding episode. Engaged couple Bessie Kovoloff and Pablo Markelis have planned their dream wedding on Pride of Hawai`i. As they set sail with their family, Finola, two accomplices and one professional stylist join the party, to give the bride and groom a makeover of a lifetime just before heading down the aisle together.

    The "How Do I Look?" Wedding Special will be shown on the following dates and times:

    Friday, December 15 at 9 p.m. ET

    Saturday, December 16 at 12 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET

    For further airings, check Style Network's website at www.stylenetwork.com.

    Back to Top

    12-14-06 Woman Sails on 100th Carnival Cruise

    A New York City woman stepped on to the Carnival Fascination and into the Carnival record books December 13, 2006, as the cruise marked her 100th cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines. Alzoria Jones took her first Carnival Cruise on the Fantasy back in 1991, and has taken a cruise approximately every other month for 15 years now. She doesn't have a favorite Carnival ship she just likes Carnival Cruise Lines. The 83 year old grandmother of 13 spends her time on board enjoying the nighttime entertainment, which she calls "fabulous," as well as walking around the ship and participating in afternoon activities. She likes to stay onboard import most of the time and simply enjoys the ship. Her favorite thing about Carnival is that the "staff recognizes me and treats me in a very special way," he says.

    Mrs. Jones is the second Carnival passenger to have reached the 100 cruise milestone. The first was FrancIs Mendin in October 2005. Back to Top

    12-11-06 Freedom Delayed Two Days In a very rare step for the CDC, the government agency issued a recommendation to Royal Caribbean to delay the Sunday sailing of Freedom of the Seas for two days pending a thorough clean up and examination of the ship (the world's largest cruise ship). The ship had reported 380 people suffering from Norovirus during the cruise and had come into Miami with 110 people still sick. This is the first time the CDC has issued such a request. This was the third cruise in a row where the ship had reported sick passengers on board.

    A few weeks ago, Carnival Liberty arrived from a transatlantic voyage with almost 800 people suffering from the virus and the cruise line voluntarily took the ship out of service for a cleaning which apparently helped to eradicate the virus for future voyages (though a handful of people did get sick on the following voyage that problem appears to be under control now).

    Meanwhile, yet another ship reported Norovirus on Sunday, the Sun Princess sailing into Ft Lauderdale had a reported 119 cases on board. That ship was not barred from sailing on it scheduled departure Sunday night. Back to Top

    12-09-06 Weekend Update 12-9-06 *** Freedom of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship, had a limited outbreak of Norovirus on its last cruise. About 380 people were affected, which in the long run adds up to less than 10% of the total ship population. The outbreak sickened 338 passengers and 46 crew members, and they were treated with over-the-counter medication. The ship, which had roughly 3,800 passengers and 1,300 crew members, returned Sunday as scheduled to the Port of Miami. Crew members sanitized frequently touched surfaces such as railings, door handles and elevator buttons after the short-lived outbreak began, officials said. A guest previously exposed to norovirus likely brought it on board Nov. 26, the company said.

    *** Holland America's Ryndam is "stuck" in the port of Tampa, well not actually stuck, just unable to move due to electrical generator problems. All modern cruise ships rely on diesal generated electrical power to run their engines, and right now Ryndam only has the use of her back up generators, which is enough to keep the ship supplied with electrical power, but not enough to power the engines. Crew and passengers should not be experiencing any on board problems.

    The Ryndam left the Port of Tampa around 7:00 p.m. and reported engine problems an hour later. The ship remains anchored between the Port and the Skyway Bridge. The Coast Guard says 12 of 20 pistons are working. When all pistons are on-line, inspectors will board the ship and see if is able to head into open waters. The Coast Guard has not said when they think the Ryndam will be on its way.

    *** NCL is planning to expand its corporate headquarters in Miami, currently at the Airport Corporate Center, an 11-building office campus located in the Airport West/Doral section of Miami. At this location since 1996, NCL currently leases a total of 208,737 square feet or approximately 20 percent of the Airport Corporate Center campus (including all of building 11 and almost 65 percent of building 10). With the expansion, NCL is leasing an additional 26,000 square feet, and securing expansion options over an additional 40,000 square feet.

    *** A break-out of Norovirus in South Dakota is being referred to in the local newspaper as the "cruise ship virus" despite the fact the state's leading epidemiologist, a Dr Kightlinger, says in the article that "Every year in South Dakota, we see outbreaks of Norovirus associated with weddings, family get-togethers or other parties. It's a common threat in nursing homes, and we've also had Norovirus outbreaks linked to bus tours." Dr Kightlinger doesn't say how many cruise ships get Norovirus in South Dakota every year, but I recommend he read the CDC website which says the virus is far more common in restaurants and nursing homes than cruise ships.

    *** The Queen Mary 1, permanently moored in Long Beach harbor as a hotel and museum, is offering a Christmas Dinner special at Sir Winston's, their premiere restaurant. Sir Winston's, located at the very top of the historic ship with panoramic coastal views, is considered by restaurant critics to be one of the most elegant and excellent in Southern California. Sir Winston's will offer a four-course European gourmet meal with reservations accepted from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., and the cost is $49 for adults and $11.95 for children ages 5-11 (plus tax and gratuity). Children under 5 are admitted free in all three restaurants. Entrees selections include Colorado Venison Chop, Duet of Jumbo Prawns and Chicken, Roasted Tenderloin of Prime Beef and Salmon Wellington.

    The Chelsea, located on Promenade Deck of Queen Mary 1, also boasting wonderful views, will offer a three-course meal with reservations accepted from Noon until 8 p.m. The cost is $35 for adults and $11.95 for children ages 5-11 (plus tax and gratuity). Featured entrees include Baked Salmon "Boxing Day" Style. Free Range Chicken Chelsea and Filet Mignon Cromwell.

    *** The former SS Norway of NCL, now sitting off the coast of New Delhi India near one of the world's largest scrap yards, is embroiled in yet another controversy. The famous ship, built by the French Government in 1962 and dubbed the SS France was later purchased by Kloster for NCL and turned into the SS Norway, at the time the largest cruise ship in the world.

    The SS Norway, disabled by a boiler room explosion in the port of Miami in 2003, has become the latest high-profile vessel targeted by environmentalists. They allege that primitive conditions at ship-breaking yards in India and neighboring countries expose workers and the environment to asbestos, PCBs and other hazards. They also charge that the ship never should have left Germany, where it had been towed from Miami after the explosion. European law bans exports of ships with hazardous waste to poor countries, and activists claim that officials of the Norway's parent, Star Cruise Lines, lied to German officials about renovation plans before the ship was towed to Malaysia and then to India. Since mid-August, the Norway has remained aground about 4,000 feet offshore from the ship-breaking yards at Alang in the west Indian state of Gujarat, awaiting the outcome of a legal challenge to its demolition.

    *** Libya welcomed a Costa cruise ship full of European tourists this week, and the passengers were able to disembark and visit the ancient sites of Leptus and Sabrata. Several cruise lines that cater to U.S. passengers have cancelled their visits to Libya this year due to the country's arbitrary policy of disallowing U.S. passport holders into the country without notice. Several cruise lines were not notified their passengers were not be allowed on shore until they had docked there in 2006, therefore in 2006 the lines asked for assurances that they would be allowed to visit or else they would have to cancel their port stops there. With no assurances by the Libyan government forthcoming, cruise lines like Oceania, Silversea and Travel Dynamics cancelled their cruise visits there in 2006. Back to Top

    12-07-06 Regent Voyager to cancel additional cruise: December 11 Regent Seven Seas has been forced to cancel the cruise scheduled to depart December 11 due to the late arrival of necessary spare parts. The ship had already cancelled two cruises beginning November 30 and December 4. This additional cruise cancellation was just announced today.

    Seven Seas Voyager entered a scheduled 10-night dry-dock in Freeport, Bahamas on November 20 as part of the general maintenance program scheduled every two and a half years. Attending technicians discovered damage to the electrical connections of the vessel's diesel electric motors, requiring additional maintenance. The line was forced to cancel the sailings of November 30 and December 4.

    Unfortunately, the spare parts necessary to make full repairs did not arrive on schedule, which makes it necessary to now cancel Seven Seas Voyager's seven-night cruise departing on December 11. The line is in the process of contacting the guests booked on this cruise to offer them a full refund of their cruise fares and an incentive to re-book a future Regent Seven Seas voyage.

    Full revenue guests on Seven Seas Voyager's cruise of December 11 are being offered 2 options:

  • Full revenue guests will be given a full refund and a $700 per person future cruise credit through 12/31/08 on any cruise that is 7 nights or longer.
  • If full revenue guests have flexibility on travel plans we will be more than happy to confirm them at their rate paid less $700 for the 11 night cruise on either of the Voyager Holiday cruises (12/18/06 or 12/29/06) or the 7 night Navigator 12/11/06 sailing. However, space is limited on these sailings. Back to Top

    12-05-06 Queen Mary I New Years Gala The infamous Queen Mary I, permanently moored in Long Beach harbor and now one of the finest hotels and museums a cruise lover could ever hope to visit, is holding The Queen Mary Stars & Lights New Year's Eve Gala celebration this December 31st. The elaborate event offers a variety of themed parties with live bands and celebrity radio personalities for one admission price of $89 per person. Guests holding the $89 ticket are invited to go from party to party throughout the evening.

    The parties, located all over the ship, will include top 40 hits, rock and hip hop, big band and swing, Latin pop, salsa, stand-up comedy and even a Brazilian carnival. A detailed program and map will ensure that guests get to all their favorite parties, and the Queen Mary Crew will be aboard in full force to provide assistance and directions. The Queen Mary Stars & Lights New Year's Eve event is presented by RMS Queen Mary Foundation, Queen Mary Live, Global Events, KBIG 104.3, KIIS-FM 102.7 and STAR 98.7 FM.

    Tickets are now available and may be purchased via Ticketmaster or at the Queen Mary Box Office between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. daily. The ticket also includes party favors, balloon drops at midnight and the Queen Mary's traditional fireworks show just after midnight. An extensive New Year's Eve dinner buffet (served from 6:00 - 11:00 p.m. at $24.95 per person plus tax and gratuity), fast food items, beverages, parking and coat check are priced separately. Everything is included in festive Hotel Queen Mary Packages and the Hollywood-themed Sir Winston's Dinner Package (available separately).

    Doors will open for guests at 6:00 p.m. for ticketed guests age 18 and older who wish to come aboard to dine before the party rooms open at 7:30 p.m. Entertainment begins at 8:00 p.m. For package pricing, additional information or to book Hotel Queen Mary or Sir Winston's Packages, call the Queen Mary at (562) 435-3511 or log onto www.queenmary.com. Back to Top

    12-03-06 Weekend Update 12-2-06 *** Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, which returned as scheduled to the Port of Miami with more than 380 passengers and crew suffering from the symptoms of norovirus, officials said. The ill passengers received over-the-counter medication, and crew members sanitized frequently touched surfaces such as railings, door handles and elevator buttons after the short-lived outbreak began, officials said.

    *** Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas docked at a cruise ship terminal near the French Quarter before embarking on a seven-day Caribbean cruise. The last of three cruise lines that homeport ships at the Port of New Orleans have now returned "home". Before Katrina, the cruise industry accounted for nearly 2,800 direct jobs and $200 million in direct expenditures within the city and three cruise lines and four ships were homeported in the city, the port said. A ship is considered homeported when it sails from the city on a regular weekly schedule.

    *** Dawn Princess was diverted to Monterey, CA, Thursday night when an 82-year-old male passenger experienced medical complications. After receiving a call from the ship about 11 p.m., the U.S. Coast Guard directed the northbound ship to head for Monterey harbor. A 47-foot motor lifeboat with a paramedic on board reached the ship at 2 a.m., approximately seven miles offshore. The lifeboat transported the passenger to shore, and he was taken to Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. The Coast Guard reported the passenger was in stable condition when he arrived at Community Hospital on Friday morning. Neither the Coast Guard nor hospital would release the man's name. The ship was returning to San Francisco from an 11-day round trip to Mexico.

    *** Carnival Cruise Lines will launch a new sales promotion – the "12 Days of Christmas" – offering a special deal on "Fun Ship" cruises each day between Dec. 3-14, 2006. The new promotion includes discounts, shipboard credits and upgrades on a wide range of three- to eight-day "Fun Ship" departures to the Bahamas, Caribbean, and Mexico, along with a different pricing promotion each day.

    Upcoming offers for the "12 Days of Christmas" sales event include:

  • Dec. 3 - Up to $200 on-board credit per stateroom on Caribbean sailings
  • Dec. 4 - Save up to $200 per stateroom on winter sailings
  • Dec. 5 - Save up to $300 on family bookings on summer sailings
  • Dec. 6 - Save up to $100 on weekend getaways
  • Dec. 7 - Upgrade offer on winter and spring sailings
  • Dec. 8 - Up to $200 on-board credit per stateroom on winter and spring sailings
  • Dec. 9 - Best available upgrades on fall sailings
  • Dec. 10 - Save up to $300 on family bookings on spring sailings
  • Dec. 11 - Save up to $200 per stateroom on winter sailings
  • Dec. 12 - Save up to $200 per stateroom on summer sailings
  • Dec. 13 - Best available upgrades on three- to five-day winter sailings
  • Dec. 14 - Save up to $200 per stateroom on virtually all 2007 sailings

    The promotion is capacity controlled and not combinable with any other discount offer. Applies to new individual bookings only. Certain other restrictions apply.

    *** MSC Cruises is also offering a Christmas-time booking special. When you book a 2007 Deep Caribbean or Panama sailing on MSC Lirica or MSC Opera with special Holiday Gift rates and bonus upgrades, you are sure to be the star of the season. Not only will you be giving a cruise experience with an Italian flavor to some of the Caribbean's most beautiful locales, but you will also be saving as much as 65 percent off retail rates. Plus, bonus upgrades of up to three categories add as much as $150 to the value of the gift. Holiday Gift prices start at just $695 per person, double occupancy (plus government fees and taxes).

    Special Holiday Gift rates are available on select 11-night sailings of MSC Lirica and MSC Opera roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale Jan. 9-April 18, 2007 and must be booked by Dec. 31, 2006. Holiday Gift rates include upgrades of inside to outside staterooms and are not valid for balcony or suite staterooms. Full nonrefundable payment is due within 24 hours of booking. The offer may not be combined with any other discount or promotion. Restrictions apply. Back to Top

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